Light Lemon Pepper Quinoa

A recent find:

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Kale chips! The taste was a big “meh”. They had a soggy texture. I like my kale chips crispy. The spices gave the chips a smoked taste, which is unlike the kinds I’ve tried in the States. But I’d rather crunch through them, not chew. Maybe I’ll make my own soon.

While I was munching away on the kale chips, I was also making a side dish. Turkey doesn’t have quinoa, except for the imported kind. And since most things are locally-sourced around here, it was a huge surprise to see one of my usual staples hiding in my local grocery store. From Italy.

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I love quinoa, but I am not a huge fan of overly-flavored quinoa. Usually, I cook it with a little salt and call it a day, but sometimes a fragrant touch gives it an oomph without the clouding effects of numerous vegetable, spice or oil additions.

Lemon Pepper Quinoa

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Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp lemon zest

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/4 tsp lemon pepper (or just regular pepper)

– 1 shallot (I used 4 abnormally small shallots), diced

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2.5 cups water

– lemon zest for garnish

Servings: 3-4

Directions:

Let a medium-sized pot head to medium.

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Zest the lemon.

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Add the salt to the lemon zest and smear into the table surface with the side of a knife, allowing all the juices of the lemon zest to release more flavor. The salt will break down the cell walls and extract the juice of the zest.

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Dice the shallots.

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In a heated pot, add the olive oil, lemon zest, and shallots.

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Sautee for 2-3 minutes.

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Add the quinoa and mix until well combined.

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Add the lemon pepper in this step, just before the water.

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Add the water and cover the pot until the mixture reaches a boil, then reduce the temperature to low, allowing it to simmer until finished.

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Serve.

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Add more lemon zest for garnish and additional flavor.

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Voila!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Pepper & Lemon Kamut Twists

There isn’t much pasta can’t fix–a cold day, a hungry belly and a long day at work.

I recently saw this in my local health food store:

The ingredients? 70% kamut, 30% quinoa. That’s it.

I wanted the unique flavors of kamut and quinoa to come out, so I tried not to mask the taste with an overload of tomato sauce and cheese.

Instead, I paired the grain with sharp aromas of crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic and parsley.

Crushed Red Pepper Lemon Zested Kamut & Quinoa Twists

Ingredients:

– 1 cup uncooked pasta (any kind ya like, but try a healthier version of your favorite!)
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove garlic
– 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp lemon zest
– 1 small tomato, diced
– 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
– Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 2-3

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the box’s directions, but add the garlic powder and salt to the water. This allows the pasta to absorb the flavors!

Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes.

When finished, drain the pasta and rinse with cool water. By rinsing, you are getting rid of any excessive starch and stopping the cooking process.

Set the pasta aside.

To the now empty pot, add the butter, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic and lemon zest.

All the flavors of the lemon, garlic and peppers will be enhanced. It’ll smell amazing in your kitchen!

Next add the pasta back into the pot and stir in the remaining ingredients: parsley and tomato.

Tossed. And now ready to serve…

Enjoy!

xoxo

Vegetable Quinoa

I wish I was more skilled at naming the dishes I create, but the name is either  insanely simple or 5 lines long, essentially summarizing all the ingredients that make said dish, well, said dish.

Tonight I realized I had not had quinoa in ages, and with a few other vegetables hanging around the kitchen, I decided to make a vegetable quinoa. It tasted delicious–light, warm and chunky 🙂

It’s a feast for the eyes and a true crowd pleaser, especially since 1 cup of quinoa goes a long way (serves about 4-6, depending who’s over).

Vegetable Quinoa

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp butter
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Corn of one cob
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
2 1/2 – 3 cups water
Small bunch parsley, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 scallions, diced

Directions:

Slice the onions and chop the garlic.

Add 1 tbsp of butter to a pan heated to medium.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan with salt & pepper.

Let cook a bit til softer.

Next comes the corn.  I ended up only using one of these.

Chop off the bottom so the cob stands vertically on the surface.

Use your knife, holding the corn securely in place, and shave along the sides, making sure to not cut too deeply but also not to skim the surface. You want the corn pieces to fall off as whole, individual pieces.

Add the corn to the pot.

Next chop the red pepper. Before you cut into pieces, make sure to remove the seeds and white skin on the inside. I used half the pepper.

Add ’em to the pot!

Next comes the quinoa! I used multi-colored quinoa for some eye candy.  Add 1 cup of quinoa to the mixture.

Mix it up!

Add 2 1/2 to 3 cups water.

Cover and let simmer on low for about 15 minutes.

While that cooks, assemble the fresh ingredients: parsley, tomato and scallions.

15 minutes later, look who’s ready!

Toss in the fresh ingredients.

And serve:

Add some more salt and pepper if you’d like at this point. And, if you want some extra taste, put a dollop of butter on top and let it melt through the mixture. It tastes like heaven.

BON APETIT!!